26 Jan 2012

Sanford embarks on multi-million dollar projects

6:59 am on 26 January 2012

Listed fishing company Sanford is embarking on two multi-million dollar projects with the Government and other fishing firms as part of a major drive to lift profits.

The company unveiled a list of measures at its annual meeting in Auckland on Wednesday.

Shareholders were told that first quarter catch and production levels fell 3%, mainly due to the detention of the tuna fishing vessel San Nikunau in American Samoa for six months last year.

Managing director Eric Barratt says revenues for the quarter match the same period a year ago and the company expects to improve on last year's profit of $22 million.

He says Sanford is involved in two primary growth programmes, costing more than $100 million, aimed at lifting its performance.

Mr Barratt says a six-year project will completely revise how seafood is harvested, particularly by trawling.

He says the high technology project will look at ways of catching fish which does less damage and provides more chance of landing fish in better condition, and at how fish is moved into new markets once caught.

Mr Barratt says the second project involves breeding mussels by applying the same breeding principles that are used on the land for beef and sheep.

Shareholders voted to increase directors' fees from $400,000 to $550,000, though directors have agreed to accept part of the increase this year and the remainder next year.